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Jauch, Bewley attend bill signing, praise bipartisan effort

Stella Jones executives and Northland legislators join Gov. Scott Walker, center, as he signs a bill that will help the Superior-based company meet its environmental obligations without being overly burdensome. (Submitted photo)

Northern lawmakers Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, and Rep. Janet Bewley, D-Ashland, joined Stella Jones executives at a ceremony in Madison last week when Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation into law that will help reduce costs for the company’s Superior facility.

Rep. Nick Milroy, D-Superior, also wrote the bill, but was unable to attend.

The northern lawmakers were approached by the timber product recycling facility after the company moved from Duluth to Superior, and realized that state regulation required them to pay $40,000 annually in order to obtain a solid waste permit. The legislation signed into law allows the company to demonstrate it has the financial means to pay for potential remediation in another, more workable way. It does not remove any environmental standards for the company and does not reduce its long-term financial obligation for remediation.

Jauch and Bewley praised the bill and the company as examples of how the legislature can work with industry to promote responsible economic development policies.

“When Stella Jones representatives approached us about this issue, they didn’t ask for their industry to be deregulated and they didn’t ask that their responsibilities to the state of Wisconsin be reduced. All they asked for was to work with us to create a more reasonable way for them to meet our standards.”

Jauch, Bewley, and Milroy toured the Stella Jones Superior facility a few weeks ago and came away impressed by the company’s commitment to Wisconsin.

“While they are new to Superior, Stella Jones has a growing economic impact in our state. They employ nearly 100 people between their two plants and the majority of the sawmills they purchase railroad ties from are in Wisconsin. They are valuable partner and we are happy that the legislature recognized that fact and gave this bill bipartisan support.”